Ever since distraction-free writing environment WriteRoom appeared, developers have tried to find the perfect balance between features and control, enabling writers to concentrate without clutter, yet not feel hemmed in by limitations. Typed has a keener sense of design than most, yet doesn’t overpower the user by overly enforcing the developer’s way of doing things.
Let's face it: The odds of us ordering a bunch of stuff online that we really don't need for dirt cheap prices this week and next are pretty high, so this week's New App Recap is kicking off with one of the best ways to keep tabs on all those packages heading to your doorstep. We've also got some great solutions for managing contacts, starting a group, ordering food from around the country, sharing our mood, and scribbling up seasonal ideas. Let's kick off our Thanksgiving edition right now!
Following years of speculation, Microsoft finally unleashed a trio of Office apps on iPad a few weeks back, with Word for iPad, Excel for iPad, and PowerPoint for iPad all offering good-to-great touch-enabled takes on the long-running productivity favorites. Curiously, though, all three launched without printing support, which made them not-fully-ideal options for users looking to untether from a traditional computer. Luckily, that oversight has been swiftly corrected, as Microsoft announced today via its Office blog that all three apps can now print over the air to any AirPrint-compatible printer.
Purchase an iPad for a loved one or family member, and without fail, the recipient will ask, “Does this work with Microsoft Word?” Thankfully, the answer is now a resounding yes—at least for those willing to pay for the privilege. With few exceptions, Microsoft Word for iPad is well worth the wait. While the iPad-only app doesn’t offer the same full-frontal feature assault of the Mac or Windows editions, the majority of the most frequently used, make-or-break tools (including track changes, charts, and rich formatting) are all present and accounted for.
At some point in the ‘90s, every college dorm had a Magnetic Poetry set stuck to the front of someone's mini-fridge. Verses might have been limited to the few dozen tiles that hadn't fallen behind the vent cover, but the fun wasn't in creating Walt Whitman-worthy masterpieces—it was in seeing how your creation was twisted by other people. Magnetic Poetry eventually went out of fashion, but FridgePoems looks to bring it back. However, while there may be a certain sense of nostalgia evoked here, the digital representation loses quite a bit of the fun without the kitsch and collaboration of the original.
If there's one thing that we’d change about iOS, it’s the keyboard. Back in 2007, we may have marveled at its flexible design, but today it feels antiquated—especially when compared to some of the alternative models we’ve tried. Unlike Fleksy or SwitfKey, Jot doesn't offer a new way to type; rather, it focuses more on text selection, sidestepping Apple's somewhat stale tap-and-hold method for a clever cursor-based concept, which dramatically improves upon the way we cut, copy, and paste.
Every notes app worth its salt needs to strike a balance between form and function, combining speed, effortless navigation, and easy organization into a simple tool that gets out of our way as we work. UpWord Notes doesn't just hit all of these marks — it does so in such an elegant way, we can't help but wonder if we've finally found the perfect app for quick note taking.
The number of differentiators between iOS and Android has gradually evaporated over time, but one cavernous gap remains: Apple won’t allow third-party developers to create alternate keyboards — a hurdle that hasn’t stopped a longtime favorite on Google’s mobile platform from trying anyway. SwiftKey Note might sound a lot like Fleksy, an alternative keyboard for iOS that actually attempts to build a better mousetrap than Apple’s own. But this is something else entirely: A note-taking app that instead improves upon Apple’s standard touch keyboard.
Handwriting apps are hardly novel anymore. There was certainly a time when we would download the latest digital whiteboard or notebook just to marvel at the realism of its pen strokes, but these days we're more interested in usefulness than newness. But despite its cringe-worthy name, INKredible grabbed our attention. With a clear focus on work rather than art, developer Viet Tran distills the fantastic ink effects of his popular Notes Plus release into a simple, elegant app that just might make you forget you're not using a pen.
Not too long ago, web apps were the saviors of the new world — rich, universal programs that needed little more than a browser to deliver their power. Steve Jobs believed in them so wholly he nearly bet the entire future of the iPhone on them, telling developers during its launch: "You’ve got everything you need if you know how to write apps using the most modern web standards to write amazing apps for the iPhone today."
And at least one developer still believes that's true.